Oakland Originals

Earlier this month, Meetings Today spent an afternoon with Visit Oakland, as the CVB celebrated the opening of its new welcome center in Jack London Square and launched a rebranding. 

From our San Francisco office, it’s a quick jaunt on the San Francisco Bay Ferry to Jack London – one of Oakland’s dining and culture hubs, with lodging options including the nautical-themed JDV Waterfront Hotel, events like the annual Eat Real Fest and hip new restaurants such as Forge and Haven. 

Compared to San Francisco, the Oakland climate is typically several degrees warmer and significantly less foggy, and Visit Oakland played up this warm-weather comparison with the name of Oakland Ray, a new "mobile visitors center" car sponsored by local clothing manufacturer Oaklandish.

On its September road trip, Ray and his marketing team spread Oakland sunshine with stops in coastal cities on their way to Los Angeles, surprising people with “Oakland Originals” such as popsicles, fortune cookies and mai tais while encouraging travelers to visit the other city by the bay.  

“Mobile visitors centers are a big trend in the CVB world right now,” says Visit Oakland PR Manager Lindsay Wright, “the car will let us get out and engage with new communities.” 

The new welcome center creates a place where tourists and locals alike can stop in and learn about Oakland’s numerous restaurants, bars and attractions. The main wall of the office is covered in a mural of user-generated Oakland photos, winners of the weekly #OaklandLoveIt Instagram contest. 

At the ribbon-cutting, Mayor Jean Quan and local leaders spoke about Oakland’s growing reputation amongst international travelers and the importance of the CVB. 

Other Oakland news includes the new Brotzeit Lokal biergarden near the Oakland Marina, a renovation of the Ramada near Oakland International Airport and the opening of the Tribune Tavern in the Tribune Tower building downtown, an iconic part of the city’s skyline.  

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